There were obstacles, there were doubters, but with hard work, there were no limits. Miami High proudly stands as an A school entering the 2020 school year. Success came from the sum of efforts repeated day-in and day-out by faculty and students, making this the first time in history that Miami High received an A grade from the Florida Department of Education.
How’d we do it?
Rumors have been circulating about which class contributed the most to Miami High’s A. Class of 2019? Class of 2020?
This led Ms. Leal, assistant principal for curriculum, to chuckle. “It was all of us,” she said. She explained that there were increases in almost every area that is used to calculate school grades. Where one class improved test scores; another class improved in another area.
School grades are the result of points earned from the following components:
Achievement in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. This is measured by student performance on statewide standardized assessments, including FSA and end-of-course (EOC) exams.
Learning gains in English Language Arts and Mathematics, which is the improvement in a student’s learning between one year and the next.
Learning gains for the lowest performing 25% of students in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
College and Career Acceleration, which is based on the percentage of graduates from the graduation rate who earned a passing score in an AP or dual enrollment course, or earned an industry certification.
“If anybody would’ve slipped, we wouldn’t have gotten an A,” exclaimed science department chairperson Dr. Hueck.
Every effort led to a point. So, yes Stingarees, give yourself a pat on the back!
What does the school gain?
Pride, validation, and recognition continuously popped up as staff and students explained what they felt Miami High gained from becoming an A school. Senior Victoria Millon believes Miami High’s school spirit is at an all time high in and out of school. She said, “The pride people are carrying by saying they go to Miami High is unmatchable.”
Ms. Munguia, math department chair, whose whole family is Miami High alumni, said, “This is a new reputation for us; we have brought pride to the community.”
Ms. Leal pointed out that Miami High is a traditional school. Unlike full magnet and charters in the county, who get to choose their students, our students live in the neighborhood. She explained how this is a big deal because, “People are recognizing that we are a school that produces results, and it’s accessible to students in the area.”
How did our neighbors do?
Coral Gables Senior High School
Booker T. Washington
Sports Leadership and Management Charter (SLAM)
Miami Beach Senior High School
Miami Jackson Senior High School
This new status has made it easier for people to choose Miami High. Dr. Hueck, who also serves as advanced academics director, said the recognition we are receiving is coming in abundance. “Families are already asking when they can come visit the school. They can’t wait to enroll their kids,” he said.
Senior Rosana Josephina, who transferred into Miami High last year, said that Miami High becoming an A school makes her feel safe about her younger sister attending Miami High.
Nativida Aguirre, another senior, feels like there are more opportunities open to Miami High students due to our new status.
Money for teachers and staff
Miami High faculty and staff will be the recipients of bonus money due to the improvement in our school grade. The school’s EESAC, which is composed of the principal, teachers, students, parents, and community representatives, voted for the bonus to be divided among all workers in the school, meaning that the janitor, the part time cafeteria worker, and the full time science teacher will all be getting a portion.
How do we stay on this track?
Reflecting back on last school year, Miami High students and faculty achieved these heights of recognition through hard work and dedication. Ms. Leal reported that attendance for Saturday school was at an all time high in 2018-2019, reaching 200-300 students every weekend!
Additionally, Ms. Munguia explained that “common planning” was implemented throughout the school year. Math teachers created a schedule together that allowed them to maximize their time, and it left them with a whole 6 weeks dedicated to review before testing.
Students have their own suggestions about how to keep up the good work and maintain that A. Senior Kiara Fuentes recommends that faculty ease up on student uniforms. She said, “It’s unreasonable for a student to miss a day of school in CSI. If education is what matters, then why is this punishment even an option?”
Senior Samantha Garcia wishes there was a classroom designated for direct student-to-student workshops. “Advanced math students can really be an aid to other students struggling in the subject. An assigned location would allow students to have a place to go look for help,” she said.
Additionally, Melissa Yera, Class of 2020 vice president, said that when students are in need of motivation, “Keep reminding yourself of the benefits that come with putting the work in [school].”
Students know themselves best. Ms. Leal encourages students to vocalize their needs in their classrooms. For example, if small groups were working for you, be an advocate to continue that.
What’s the big deal?
For some people the A is not as important as what happens day-to-day in school. Math teacher Mr. Strickland, said, “Grades mean nothing as long as my students are learning. Then I’m being successful.” Sofia Melgar, a junior, explained that the A doesn’t change much for us, “Students will continue acting how they have always acted.”
Some other High Schools in Miami- Dade that received an A?
New World School of Arts
John A. Ferguson
International Studies High school (ISCH)
Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH)